"You are going to eight o'clock mass? I went to seven o'clock mass. You have plenty of time. Will you not come in, a moment?"
Rose thanks her. She warns me against the haberdasher, who is a malicious woman and speaks ill of everybody, a real pest! Then she begins again to boast of her master's virtues and of her easy place. I ask her:
"Then the captain has no family?"
"No family?" she cries, scandalized. "Well, my little one, you are not on. Oh! yes, there is a family, and a nice one, indeed! Heaps of nieces and cousins,—loafers, penniless people, hangers-on, all of whom were plundering him and robbing him. You should have seen that. It was an abomination. So you can imagine whether I set that right,—whether I cleared the house of all this vermin. Why, my dear young woman, but for me, the captain now would be on his uppers. Ah! the poor man! He is well satisfied with the way things are now."
I insist with an ironical intention, which, however, she does not understand:
"And, undoubtedly, Mademoiselle Rose, he will remember you in his will?"
Prudently, she replies:
"Monsieur will do as he likes. He is free. Surely I do not influence him. I ask nothing of him. I do not ask him even to pay me wages. I